Ted Cruz’ phoniness has finally caught up with him. The junior senator from Texas dropped out of the Republican presidential contest on Tuesday night, after losing Indiana’s primary to businessman Donald Trump.
Politico has a long feature about Cruz’ failure to win the presidential nomination that essentially argues his untrustworthiness is to blame.
The Texan’s small victories in the party’s byzantine delegate-selection process, which appeared to give him a chance of taking the nomination away from Trump at the convention in July, only reinforced this perception. It struck many voters as unfair that the second-place finisher could somehow end up winning.
Frank Bruni, a long-time Cruz critic, similarly argues in The New York Times that the nakedness of Cruz’ vanity and the transparency of his ambition were always his biggest problem.
He spoke out of both sides of his scowl, itching to be the voice of the common man but equally eager to demonstrate what a highfalutin, Harvard-trained intellect he possessed. He wed a populist message to a plummy vocabulary. And while the line separating smart and smart aleck isn’t all that thin or blurry, he never could stay on the winning side of it.
Cruz made a career out of lambasting the Republican Party “establishment” and its constant “surrenders” to the left — until it stopped rejecting him and its help was his best hope of wresting the nomination away from Trump.
By that point, of course, the many colleagues whom he had called traitors to the conservative cause for refusing to go along with his kamikaze tactics; whom he had compared to Nazi appeasers for refusing to support a doomed effort to defund Barack Obama’s health reforms were in no mood to throw their support behind Cruz.
The Atlantic Sentinel argued last year, when Cruz was on the cusp of running for president, that the senator’s chances were slim.
“He is a political lightweight who has managed to alienate just about everyone except the most reactionary of Republican activists with his bluster and sabotage,” we wrote.
Nor did we see him as reliable ally against Trump, arguing that for Cruz to let the party suffer the calamity of a Trump nomination would be utterly true to form.
This, after all, was the same candidate who embraced Trump early in the nominating contest, calling him a “friend” and saying he was “grateful” the former television personality had broken through the “political correctness” to talk frankly about immigration.
It was too obvious what Cruz was trying to achieve: He hopes others would cut Trump down to size and then he could pick up the mogul’s disillusioned supporters with his reputation as an outsider intact.
Except no one did stop Trump. And Cruz — in what was surely the greatest twist of the primary campaign — ending up defending what was left of the Republican Party’s sanity against Trump’s horde all by himself.
He wasn’t up to the task.